Big win for former Shandon golfer
‘‘As the round unfolded I was slowly creeping up the leaderboard.’’
A Kiwi raised golfer has played the round of his life to win the British Seniors Amateur Championship.
Former Hutt Valley resident Bryan Hughes who played at Te Marua and Shandon golf clubs, said the win on August 11 was ‘‘unbelievable’’.
He climbed the leaderboard in the final round of the championship after starting the day seven shots back.
‘‘As the round unfolded I was slowly creeping up the leaderboard, sixth by the 10th [hole], third by the 14th, so I was thinking at this stage I could get a medal but not win.’’
As he approached the 18th hole at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England, he was only two shots behind the leader who still had three holes to play.
‘‘I [was] thinking ‘birdie the last hole and see what happens’.’’
Hughes had a nervous wait while the American who had been leading the tournament completed his round. A poor finish by the American sealed Hughes’ win by two shots.
It was a remarkable win for Hughes who received a late entry into the championship, having been on the reserve list only a week earlier.
The title marked his biggest individual win on a golf course. It was his first senior tournament, having turned 55 only four days before the championship stated on August 9.
Hailed as the first Englishman to win the title since 2003, Hughes was born in Liverpool and moved with his family to New Zealand when he was young. He grew up in Upper Hutt where he joined Te Marua Golf Club, later moving to Shandon.
He moved to the UK in 1988 before returning to New Zealand in 1992 where he rejoined Shandon. Hughes shifted to the UK again in 2004 and now plays his golf at Hesketh Golf Club.
The win has opened doors for Hughes, with a lifetime exemption into the British Senior Amateur Championship and an invitation to the British Senior Open at St Andrews next year which he was looking forward to.
He also earned selection for England in the European Team Championship in Sweden next week and Home Internationals in Ireland later in September.
Bryan Hughes after his win at the Senior Amateur Championships.